Legal Business Blogs

SRA closes Axiom Ince with immediate effect following intervention

Drawing a long-running saga to its inevitable conclusion, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has today (3 October) announced that it has closed down Axiom Ince with immediate effect following its intervention to protect the interest of clients and former clients of the firm.

This intervention by the SRA prevents Axiom Ince from operating, while it takes ownership of all documents held by the firm and all money, including client money, held by the firm. It has appointed intervening agents to deal with all live matters held by Axiom Ince across its network and to deal with the closure of its offices.

The intervening agent for the former Axiom DWFM offices, including Edgware, London, Birmingham, Bristol, Swindon, Walthamstow, and Wanstead, is Gordons. Shakespeare Martineau has been appointed as intervening agent for all former Ince & Co offices, including Bristol, Cardiff and London.

The intervening agent for former Plexus Legal offices in the North, including Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester, is Stephensons. Meanwhile, Lester Aldridge has been appointed as intervening agent for Plexus Legal offices in the South, with locations including London, Chelmsford, Evesham.

This news follows Axiom Ince yesterday (2 October) filing a notice of intention to appoint an administrator at the High Court. The firm’s representative is Devonshires.

Axiom Ince rescued Ince & Co after its second pre-pack administration in April and bought Plexus Legal in July. However, the situation quickly deteriorated with the SRA intervening into the practices of managing partner Pragnesh Modhwadia, for suspected dishonesty, and partners Idnan Liaqat and Shyam Mistry in August.

Axiom Ince went on to file a claim for alleged breach of fiduciary duty against Modhwadia. A High Court judge subsequently imposed a freezing order of £64m against Modhwadia, after he admitted client money had been used to buy both Ince and Plexus, alongside several properties. Modhwadia was unable to account for the money. Axiom had bought Ince for just £2.2m, making an initial £1m payment and paying the remaining £1.2m in instalments.

As news of Axiom Ince’s imminent collapse has been an open secret for several weeks, most lawyers at the firm have been able to find new homes for their practices. However, it is understood that hundreds of business services staff across Axiom, Ince and Plexus have been left in the lurch as lawyers jump ship, taking clients and ongoing matters with them.

Limited support and communication have been offered to business support staff and a spokesperson for the group has appealed to the wider legal profession to help those left behind where possible.